Strategies for Discovering Your Career Purpose
I hadn’t given much thought to having a professional mission, but upon reflection, I realize that I’ve been unconsciously working on crafting and refining mine. This has helped me clarify my career goals and make decisions about which opportunities align with my mission.
When defining a professional mission, it’s important to consider your strengths and areas for improvement. For example, I’m a research analyst by training and have a natural inclination towards data analysis and excel spreadsheets. I also enjoy writing and engaging in debates. However, I don’t enjoy being constrained by strict processes and following traditional wisdom. It’s important to evaluate what you excel at and what tasks you tend to struggle with or dislike.
When defining your professional mission, it’s important to consider what you’re truly passionate about. This is something that you care deeply about, and others might even recognize your enthusiasm for it. For me, I have been particularly interested in preventing future financial crises, and that led me to become more invested in understanding the impact of financial and economic engagement of women.
Your professional mission doesn’t have to be limited to one specific thing and it can change as your interests and skills develop. It’s important to consider how your strengths and passions can align to create opportunities to make a meaningful impact. For instance, using your skills in film-making to highlight the crisis in education, utilizing your writing skills to address global health challenges or using your expertise as a financial advisor to assist families with their finances.
It’s important to keep in mind that your professional mission may already be present in your current workplace. It might be stated in your company’s values and if you take it seriously, it could be a great opportunity to align your goals with the company’s mission. For example, many financial firms claim to put their clients first, but at Bernstein, we took that value to heart and defined our clients as investing clients. By doing so, we were able to identify and eliminate any conflicts of interest that arose from also working for clients issuing stock.
Defining your professional mission can be a complex and challenging process. It is not always easy to come to these insights and it may take time and experimentation. The process may involve trial and error, deep reflection, and input from mentors and colleagues. It took me time to realize my passion as a research analyst and navigate the conflicts of Wall Street. Additionally, it is important to be prepared for potential sacrifices, such as lost revenues, as you align your actions with your mission. It’s important to note that finding your professional mission is an ongoing process that requires regular reflection and adaptation as your interests, skills, and the business environment change. It may not be the same in your 20s as it is in your 50s. It’s an ongoing process and not a one-time question.